He told them that the first stage lasts roughly from birth to the age of five years old. This is a state of both ignorance and innocence.
The next stage takes place in an individual from the age of five to twenty years old. At this stage individuals enter into schools and begin filling their memories with knowledge and information, believing that their instructors are the experts.
The third stage goes from the age of twenty to sixty. At this stage the individual begins forming his or her own opinion and judgment concerning the value of the various data in their memory banks.
Finally, from the age of sixty and on, humans advance to a stage of wisdom and a return to innocence, whereby they prefer to do what is right rather than simply meditating on the subject matter. This return to innocence is not accomplished unless a person, from discernment, embraces spiritual principles and acknowledges that all truth and love comes from the Lord God alone.
After the church service is over, several people remained behind. They had formed a unique group of worshippers who wanted to delve more deeply into spiritual matters. They were like an “inner circle” of disciples. The minister joined in and began to give more details on the subject of the stages of spiritual growth.
He told them that the first stage of innocence in childhood involves the Lord God carefully implanting heavenly feelings of love and truth into the child’s interior mind (in the midst of an evil and rotten hereditary nature). This sacred operation not only forms a mental plane or foundation, called the “remains” whereby spiritual growth could continue in later life but also serves as the active and living principle behind people’s ability to think and feel. (In fact, without this divine input, the human race would quickly morph into physical monsters, then perish!)
The second stage involves acquiring knowledge from the world of the senses and this operation forms a more exterior plane of the human mind called the corporeal memory. But here is where things begin to get tricky. The minister emphasized the fact that a person’s God-given remains are located on a distinct and deeper level than the corporeal memory. So the problem here is that the two levels have no continuous or direct connection to each other, therefore, the development of one’s knowledge within the external memory takes place without reference to the more interior mental level created by God during infancy or even with one’s essential nature.
What happens as a result of this is that we come to believe that this external level of consciousness, created by education and teachers, is who we truly are. But it is a fabricated consciousness that can be easily manipulated to deceive others.
At the third stage, individuals begin making choices based on this superficial level of consciousness, which never touches one’s true being and spiritual potentials. This causes people to become less sincere or genuine—even if they outwardly embrace a noble doctrine of love. Real change never takes place.
The last stage is supposed to bring us to a state of wisdom and a return to spiritual innocence. But this genuine innocence is not obtained unless the knowledge (both spiritual and worldly content) in one’s corporeal consciousness makes contact with one’s inner reality where both one’s self-love (ego) and God’s remains reside. This contact allows the individual to measure what one knows against how one really is from within and offers a real picture of one’s spiritual status. The ensuing battle between these distinct levels of consciousness is the engine of spiritual growth, called regeneration. This spiritual combat allows the false outer consciousness and ego to die, whereby God’s heavenly influx increases into the remains. (God only operates through the remains.) There is no other means by which one’s remains (spiritual organics) can lawfully develop further. However, it is the desire of evil forces in the universe to keep this contact (sincere self-examination and repentance) from ever happening, causing humans to cling to self-fantasy and illusion.
The minister further stated that people’s desire for importance, self-worth and to be more loving, often interferes with this lawful purging process. While this mistake can be corrected in the other world, it often leads to painful experiences when we are confronted by probing angelic instruction.
The group was astounded to hear that there was more to being good than merely being good!